There aren’t many mistakes staff can make that are cause for immediate termination. However, when I was a pastor and we had a staff of 68 people, there are three mistakes, that no matter what the circumstance, that would cause me to fire the staff person without any conversation other than, “you’re fired!”

Three Fatal Staffing Mistakes

Here are those three reasons:

  1. A serious moral failure like having an affair.  Even though I would try to get the person help and restored to ministry, it would not be in the same church where the failure occurred.
  2. Having an issue with anyone on the staff, especially the lead pastor, and instead of talking it out with that person, the staff person goes directly to the personnel committee. This type of action is simply one form of passive-aggressive behavior and cannot be tolerated.  People who cannot confront a problem with the person with whom they have the problem aren’t mature enough to be on anyone’s staff. Such action goes beyond even triangulation and borders on mutiny.
  3. Questioning or publicly badmouthing a decision that was made in a staff meeting. This is another form of passive-aggressive immature behavior and demonstrates a lack of trust and team spirit.

These three actions are so deadly that they can’t be tolerated and should not have any recourse. Of course, it needs to be clearly communicated in the hiring process that there is no second chance on these three fatal mistakes.

Now you may be thinking that this is a harsh stance to take.  I agree; it is. But so are these three mistakes. I’ve seen pastors try to save the staff person by working with them only to see their staff torn apart, its effectiveness declining, and the problem rearing its ugly head once again. These actions so undermine the credibility and integrity of the person with the staff that their effectiveness and trust are diminished to the point that their effectiveness is severely reduced. These actions all point to a level of spiritual maturity that should never be tolerated among a staff.

Yet, even in such situations, grace must abound. You should offer to get them the help they need to mature in the faith, and hopefully they will be an asset to the Kingdom, but on some other staff.  Just not yours.

I applaud those lead pastors who care enough about the Kingdom that they hold themselves and their staff accountable to high ethical standards.

Question: Tell me what you think about this. Am I a tyrant or am I setting an example of team spirit and ethical behavior between leaders? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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